CFTC settles charges against ex-employees of fraudulent binary options scheme Yukom Communications

Maria Nikolova

Liora Welles, Yair Hadar, and Shira Uzan have each entered into a cooperation agreement with the CFTC to provide information and testify in the Yukom litigation.

The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Monday issued three orders filing and simultaneously settling charges against three ex-employees of fraudulent binary options scheme Yukom Communications. The individuals are Liora Welles, Yair Hadar, and Shira Uzan.

Each of these individuals is alleged to have fraudulently solicited customers in the United States to enter into illegal, off-exchange binary options transactions through internet websites using fictitious trade names such as “BinaryBook” and “BigOption.”

All three individuals are former employees of Yukom Communications Ltd., an Israel-based entity, whose operations were focused on sales and marketing services, including investor “retention services,” for BinaryBook and BigOption. In August this year, the CFTC charged Yukom, along with four other entities and four individuals, with operating an illegal and fraudulent $103 million global retail “binary options” trading enterprise that targeted and victimized U.S. residents.

Liora Welles, Yair Hadar, and Shira Uzan, have each entered into a formal cooperation agreement with the CFTC’s Division of Enforcement to provide information and testify in the Yukom litigation. They have also testified in the criminal proceedings against Lee Elbaz, the CEO of Yukom.

The orders provide for sanctions, including permanent trading bans and prohibitions on seeking registration with the CFTC. Further, the orders require the respondents to cease and desist from violating the Commodity Exchange Act and Commission regulations as charged.

Each of the individuals has also entered into plea agreements with the Department of Justice in parallel criminal proceedings. On September 20, 2019, Welles was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution of $2,395,310 in customer losses. Hadar was sentenced on September 23, 2019 to 8 months of imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution of $1,200,000. Uzan is scheduled to be sentenced on October 24, 2019.

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